The Watchtower, October 1, 1909, p293 - this page reveals the astonishing arrogance of C.T. Russell and the WBTS!
Read the whole page carefully and realise that the accusations of 'wranglings and speculations and guesses respecting things not revealed in God's Book' are exactly the things the WBTS are guilty of to this day!
Who, apart from men such as the 'popes' and other cult leaders, dare claim their writings are:
'... practically the Bible itself in an arranged, systematic form; and that it is this very systemization of the Bible which brought them to their present enlightenment and joy in the holy Spirit.'
The Bible clearly reveals the Words of the Lord Jesus Christ when He spoke to all who would be His disciples (John 16:13-15):
Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He shall guide you into all the truth: for He shall not speak from Himself; but what things soever He shall hear, these shall He speak: and He shall declare unto you the things that are to come. He shall glorify me: for He shall take of mine, and shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that He taketh of mine, and shall declare it unto you.'
Since the Holy Spirit would lead every believer into ALL TRUTH from the moment He came (read Acts 2!) there was never the need for any kind of 'organisation' such as the WBTS (C.T. Russell agreed with this view in his early writings)!
The WBTS clearly make the foolish claim that for nearly 2,000 years nobody could properly understand the Bible until C.T. Russell and his WBTS turned up to save God from His mistakes!
And they couple this with the threat that to leave the WBTS 'would correspond to a sow returning to her wallowing in the mire and the dog to his vomit'!
The WBTS warning to 'beware of "divers and strange doctrines," fanciful interpretations, manufactured types, symbols and private interpretations' fits their history so perfectly it requires little further comment, but simply to add these two quotes from the WBTS:
"The Catholic Church occupies a very significant position in the world and claims to be the way of salvation for hundreds of millions of people. Any organization that assumes that position should be willing to submit to scrutiny and criticism." (Awake, Aug 22, 1984, p28)
"... identifying themselves with Jehovah's organization is essential to their salvation." (Kingdom Ministry, Nov 1990, 1)
So we see that the WBTS clearly makes the same claim as the Papal Roman Catholic Church - to be saved you must be associated with (or 'identify' yourself with) that organisation!
This is an utterly un-Biblical claim!
The WBTS attacks on Catholicism make interesting reading, because they exhibit exactly the same kind of controlling behaviour. Second 'President' 'Judge' Rutherford's book 'Riches' is no exception. Consider, for example, this accusation:
If anyone dared to express his opinion contrary to the doctrines taught by the clergy of the Roman Catholic organization, that one was straightway charged with heresy. (p246)
Jehovah's Witnesses know that if anyone dares to express his opinion contrary to the doctrines taught by the leaders of the Watchtower organization, that one is straightway charged with apostasy. The only difference is that the Catholic Church formerly exercised sufficient secular influence to have its heretics silenced through corporal punishment, while, lacking the power to inflict bodily harm, the Watchtower silences its apostates by enforced shunning, cutting them off from family and friends inside the sect. But the attitude toward free thought among Jehovah's Witnesses is much the same as it was among Catholics under the Inquisition. And, while a Witness accused of apostasy need not fear for his life, as did a Catholic accused of heresy during the Inquisition, the Witness may face the loss of housing and employment, if these are provided by fellow Jehovah's Witnesses, and he will be told that he eventually will face death at the hands of angelic executioners.
After attacking the Catholic hierarchy's claim to authority, Rutherford then presented his own organization as the one God has placed in charge:
'Jehovah has made the necessary arrangements within his organization to instruct his people, and all recognize that for some years The Watchtower has been the means of communicating information to God's people. That does not mean that those who prepare the manuscript for The Watchtower are inspired, but rather it means that the Lord through his angels sees to it that the information is given to his people in due time. (p316)
Of course, if an organisation was really receiving 'accurate knowledge' - whether directly from God or via His angels - it would be an elementary thing to make sure these truths were written down carefully in The Watchtower.
Unfortunately for the WBTS they attempt the same kind of excuses used by the missionaries of the Mormon cult when we challenge them over the inaccuracies and errors in the Book of Mormon. Whereas they first claimed that angelic protection made sure the words given in the Book of Mormon were protected right through the printing stage, they tried to claim the printer was at fault when we pointed out the (nearly 4,000) obvious errors. Really - as if the Mormon cult had nobody capable of proof-reading carefully?
Did the WBTS ever have anyone capable of challenging the un-Scriptural, heretical views of Russell, Rutherford, Knorr, and the Governing Body? Obviously not!
The WBTS effectively exhibits the same attitude as Papal Rome to those who dare try and leave 'the organisation'!
Reed, D. A. (1993). Jehovah's Witness literature: Critical guide to Watchtower publication (electronic ed., pp. 75-76). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.